Monday, August 04, 2008

The Voice of the Braves

The voice of the Braves has been silenced. Skip Caray died on Sunday. He was 68, and had spent 33 years calling games for the Braves.

Lots of people around here remember his enthusiasm and excitement calling the 1992 NL Championship Series: “A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here's the throw to the plate! He is ... safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! … Braves win!” I have heard that so many times on the radio or TV over the years that it is etched in my mind. And his excitement in 1995 was infectious: “Mark gets the sign, the wind and the pitch here it is... swung, fly ball deep left center, Grissom on the run... Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd! A mob scene on the field. Wohlers gets 'em one, two, three. A couple of fans rushing on the field. The Atlanta Braves have brought the first championship to Atlanta!” Those were heady times for Braves fans.

Sure, Caray was around for the good years, but he also kept people interested and entertained during all those bad years of the 70s and 80s. His wit and humor were no doubt a big part of the reason that the Braves became “America’s team”. I like that he didn’t make any pretense of being impartial. He also called it like it happened and wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind, even when his comments were not flattering to the team.

All that said, the memories that stand out in my mind are from much quieter times. After I moved far away from home after college, all the nights I tuned into the Braves game on TBS just to hear the familiar voices from Atlanta, easing my homesickness and lulling me into an “everything is OK” feeling. It worked every time. Thanks for everything, Skip. May you rest in peace.

11 comments:

tiff said...

68 = way too young.

fermicat said...

True dat.

Dave said...

One Sunday morning during the glory years, I was sitting in a hotel room in Irvine, CA. I'd flown in Saturday night to get the "stay over a Saturday fare." I went to the lobby and got an LA Times, a pot of coffee and a donut or a danish or something. I went back to the room and turned on TBS, a fixture on every hotel cable system back then, at 10:05 a.m., 1:05 in Atlanta, and watched the Braves, read the paper and had a bit of breakfast. I'm sure Skip said something witty, inappropriate, funny, or revealing about the game.

dr sardonicus said...

A fine announcer, he was one of the last of the old school.

After I moved away, I continued to tune to KMOX to hear those familiar voices from home. Unfortunately, you can't hear Cardinal games on KMOX anymore. The cable networks and MLB.com have been pressuring teams to take the games off the clear channel AM stations.

LL said...

Not a Braves fan... but commentators have a way of working their way into your life...

JennyC&F said...

I agree with LL, like that cross dressing announcer for the METS, he was a pip... well until everyone found out he was a transvestite...

SO sorry to hear of the loss for the Braves.

Georgia is not having a good year, the Bulldogs lost their bulldog mascot this year too.

fermicat said...

dave - the end of the era started with pulling the games from TBS and ended with the death of Skip Caray.

dr s - old school is better than the impersonal modern style.

ll - yeah, I still miss Al Ciraldo calling the Tech games.

jenny - I'm a Tech alum and fan, so I didn't feel sad about Uga VI. I'm sure he was super pampered and had a good life.

wa11z said...

Can't believe it. It won't be the same.

Kathleen said...

Way too young. Our beloved Ernie Harwell is in his late 80s/early 90s and retired a few years back. Nobody wanted him to go. Thankfully he is still with us.

Minnesotablue said...

Even though I am not a Braves fan, I am a baseball fan and remember watching many Braves games on Turners station. The announcers are such an important part of the team and are often not given enough credit. Sorry for the loss.

fermicat said...

wa11z - yeah. It will change the feel of the broadcasts.

kat - everyone should live long enough to retire if they want to.

minnesotablue - thanks for sharing that memory with us.